Arkansas Crime

Arkansas has the fastest growing inmate population of any state nationwide, and it's forced the formation of a task force to propose reforms. Now that task force is asking for the policymaking powers of the General Assembly to achieve its aims.

Arkansas should move low-level offenders into community programs where data shows they are half as likely to re-offend, according to a consultant's report.

Board of Corrections chairman Benny Magness says the state has no choice.

“We have to do something, because we’re not going to be able to continue to build ourselves out of this. We have to continue to look at things. And we’ve been struggling with this for ten years, to find other ways to slow this population down.”

Arkansas State Police say the person who was fatally shot by a Pope County deputy Thursday was an 83-year-old man who reportedly fired a rifle at officers. 

State police on Friday identified the man killed as Quinton Phillips of Dover. Authorities say deputies responded to a call Thursday of an armed disturbance in a rural area near Dover, about 65 miles northwest of Little Rock. 

RaMaya Reed
KATV, Channel 7 News

Little Rock police have announced a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction for whoever fatally shot a 2-year-old girl earlier this week.

Police announced Friday that an anonymous donor gave $10,000 for the reward, and the city of Little Rock matched that donation.

Authorities say the girl was riding in a vehicle Tuesday night when she was struck by gunfire. The girl was taken to a Little Rock hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police say a motive for the shooting is not yet known.

Clinton Presidential Center Robbery Shooting
Korey Isbell / KATV-Channel 7 News

A man selling bluejeans has been shot in the visitors' parking lot of the Clinton Presidential Center in what police say was a robbery.

Little Rock Police Public Affairs Officer Lt. Steven McClanahan says three men approached the 19-year-old victim and his cousin Monday evening and at least one of them drew a handgun and fired, striking the victim in the leg. McClanahan says the injury is not life-threatening, and that the victim was taken by his cousin to a hospital.

Police have not released the victim's name.

A judge has ordered the release of a 59-year-old man convicted of a killing that occurred in Arkansas more than 40 years ago.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Dennis Lewis of Wichita, Kansas, was 17 years old when he fatally shot Jared Cobb during a robbery at a Springdale pawn shop in April 1974.

Lewis was convicted of capital murder and assault with the intent to rob in the case, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

KATV, Channel 7 News

UPDATE (4:55 pm): A police report says officers responding to multiple reports of a disturbance early Tuesday found 46-year-old Roy Lee Richards pointing a long gun at his uncle.

The report says one officer "engaged" Richards and fired several shots. It doesn't say whether Richards opened fire.

The officer and another officer then began resuscitation efforts.

The report says the uncle told investigators that Richards started the disturbance and was approaching him with the gun when the officers arrived.

A former Arkansas judge accused of giving lighter sentences to defendants in exchange for nude photos and sexual acts has been indicted on federal fraud and bribery charges.

The indictment against former Cross County District Court Judge Joseph Boeckmann was unsealed Monday. He's facing several charges, including wire fraud and witness tampering.

Boeckmann resigned in May after an investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships with men accused of crimes dating back decades, to his time as a prosecutor.

Police say two suspects have been arrested for the August shooting death of a North Carolina woman at a gas station in North Little Rock.

Sgt. Brian Dedrick says the suspects were arrested about 7 a.m. Tuesday on first-degree murder warrants and are now jailed without bond. Court records do not show that either suspect has been formally charged.

The two are suspects in the Aug. 6 shooting of 39-year-old Amy Southern Ashley of Raleigh, North Carolina, at a gas station just off the Interstate 30 bridge in downtown North Little Rock.

Sebastian COunty Sheriff's Deputy Bill Cooper
Sebastian Co. Sheriff's Office

A prosecutor says he'll look at an autopsy report due this week as he explores whether to seek the execution of a man accused of killing a western Arkansas deputy.

The Arkansas State Crime Lab says the medical examiner has completed its autopsy on Sebastian County Cpl. Bill Cooper and that investigators and prosecutors should have access soon. Prosecutor Dan Shue told the Southwest Times Record newspaper that part of his due diligence before starting a possible death-penalty case includes a look at the autopsy.

State Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock).
Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

Little Rock Police are apologizing and dropping the misdemeanor charge against Democratic state representative and civil rights attorney John Walker. He was taken into custody Monday for filming a traffic stop and refusing to leave the scene

Chief of Police Kent Buckner now says Walker never should have been arrested.

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